"I hope to use the things I learn in OPIHI to better understand the ocean."
Makawao, Maui (has lived in Honolulu 4 years)
OPIHI is a program which uses coastal monitoring methods to increase ocean awareness and understanding amongst researchers, college students, and K–12 teachers and students. The program also creates a forum where these groups may collaborate effectively and collect valuable information about the status of our marine ecosystems statewide. Opihi introduces students to intertidal functions, limu identification, collection techniques, cultural significance, and modeling.How did you become part of this internship?
I applied to this program in the fall in order to fine tune my scientific methods and techniques. I wanted to learn a new method of data collection (Stable Isotope analysis) and be able to complete a project that could help others better understand the ocean and some of its dynamic nature.
What is your role in OPIHI?
Throughout OPIHI, we have been able to work with teachers and students from K–12 public and private schools. We first did workshops with the teachers to familiarize them with the protocols and species identification. We then accompanied the teachers on their own field days. I was a part of an excursion to Sandy Beach. We worked on getting the students engaged and showed them some of the species we study and talked about why they are so interesting.
What has been the best part of the program experience so far?
The best part of the program so far has been working with the students. It was a fun challenge to get these kids excited about the ocean. I like that we could share what we do with them and do it at the ocean, not just in the classroom.
What is the focus of your science research project?
The focus of my research project is the Ha‛uke‛uke (shingle urchin) diet at Ka‛alawai (Black Point) on O‛ahu. More specifically, I am looking at how we could potentially use Stable Isotope analysis to determine its limu diet and/or its preference in limu. This research could be vital to the understanding of the feeding ecology of Ha‛uke‛uke, which currently is poorly understood.
In what ways do you hope to make a difference in your field?
I hope to use the things I learn in OPIHI to better understand the ocean. Ultimately, I want to research the needs of fisherman to foster more fish.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I want to get into a graduate program and continue my marine focus. I am very interested in fishery research and management. I would love to be able to continue learning about Hawai‛i’s oceans and how to get them to flourishing conditions.
* Our Project in Hawai‘i’s Intertidal (OPIHI) is a series of professional development workshops from the COE Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG).